Unanimous winners Shuhei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are set to contest the top vote-getters in last year’s MLS Player of the Year race, on Thursday.
A four-game streak against a solid Los Angeles Angels, with Ohtani on the hill in the opening game, concludes a six-game wild ride for the Guerrero and Blue Jays.
Thursday: 9:38PM ET / 6:38PM PT (Sportsnet ONE) Toronto LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (1-0, 6.00 ERA) vs Los Angeles RHP Shohei Ohtani (3-2, 2.82 ERA)
Friday: 9:38PM ET / 6:38PM PT (Apple TV+): Toronto RHP Alek Manoah (5-1, 1.62 ERA) vs. Los Angeles RHP Chase Silseth (1-1. 2.61 ERA)
Saturday: 10:07PM ET / 7:07PM PT (Sportsnet ONE): Toronto LHP Yusei Kikuchi (2-1, 3.47 ERA) vs Los Angeles RHP Michael Lorenzen (5-2, 3.05 ERA)
Sunday: 4:07PM EDT / 1:07PM PT (Sportsnet ONE): Toronto RHP Jose Berrios (3-2, 4.75 ERA) vs Los Angeles LHP Patrick Sandoval (3-1, 1.79 ERA)
THE LATEST ON BLUE JAYS
One game isn’t a transformation, but perhaps the Blue Jays (23-20) can build a rare offensive attack in their 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday. It’s only the sixth time in 21 games this month that Toronto has scored more than three games.
Three-stroke Homer Danny Jansen, his first home run of the night, marked the first injury in Toronto to clear the fence by more than one runner since April 29. month and the first since May 5.
Despite offensive problems ahead of Tuesday, Toronto won more than they lost last week thanks in large part to excellent work through the starting rotation.
The latest on angels
The Angels (27-18) settled a mini-series split with the Texans after losing 7-2 to visiting Rangers on Wednesday. Angels star Mike Trout hit four times for only the eighth time in his career, while Ohtani was 0 for 3 with a header and faltered in the bases run before scoring in the first.
Club manager Joe Maddon leads AL with 214 points and scored two games behind the Houston Astros in the first race at Al West.
The Angels have not played in the playoffs since 2014 and their last season win was a year later.
VLADDY VS. What is it
For the first time since Ohtani beat Guerrero Jr. for the MVP award last season, the two stars compete on Thursday.
This time, though, neither of the two men are in the main MVP conversation. Ohtani has had another impressive year on the heap (he’s allowed no more than two rounds in his past five starts), but he’s been quieter on the plate (.251/.318/.451 with nine Homer and 28 RBIs). Guerrero (.263/.356/.447 with eight teammates and 22 RBI) was squabbling before Homer on Tuesday — a nice push headed to a marquee match with Ohtani and back to one of his father’s old stamp spots.
Guerrero has faced Ohtani only once – he went 1 for 2 by one stroke, walk-and-strike last August in the Angels’ 6-3 win at Anaheim.
Speaking of the best players…
Could the Angels become the first team to have back-to-back top players since the Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander in 2011, Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and 2013) took three in a row?
Trout (.319/ .425/ .674 with 12 homers and 26 RBIs) does its best to make it happen. After missing most of last season with a calf injury, Trout ranked second in the Grand Slam in top-of-substitution wins this year, per fangraphs.com.
Two members of the Angels Bullpen – left member Aaron Loeb and right man Ryan Tebera – were part of Toronto’s match teams in 2015 and 2016.
A potential Blue Jay will not face ex-Toronto Noah Sendergaard, the series’ writer. After missing most of the past two seasons with the Mets after Tommy John’s surgery, Syndergaard has signed a one-year deal with the Angels this year.
Toronto will also not face the rookie Red Detmers, who threw a no-hitter earlier this month against Tampa Bay. Dettmers suffered a loss in Wednesday’s defeat against Texas.
The Blue Jays are getting a day off Monday before the start of a three-game game at the Rogers Center against another playoff contender – the Chicago White Sox. It then wraps up a six-game home with three games against the Chicago team that is chasing the top of the AL Central – the Minnesota Twins.